Preparing for your Travels with Baby!
With the Holiday season fast approaching, preparing to travel with your little bundle is crucial to ensure a stress-free trip!
We're just back from a Budapest mini-break, so whilst baby travel is fresh in mind, I thought I'd share my tips and essentials.
Baby travel is a pretty broad subject and dependant on your baby and your travel destination. So I've tried to narrow it down to key area's to think about including;
1. Car Seats
If you can book direct transfers with your accommodation provider, I would advise you to do this, for the pure ease of arriving and having someone waiting for you and secondly on request they will arrange car seats, which is one less thing you'll need to take. If however, you plan on booking a car hire it is advisable to bring your own seat, as hiring them for a car hire company can be pricey! Most Isofix seats can be docked on a base or belted in, our Cybex seats also offer this functionality. If belting in just make sure you're aware of the correct procedure to ensure safe fixing, this way you don't have to also bring your base. Most car seat brands will have video tutorials on how to do this, if you purchased your car seat with Bygge Bo we can also show you how to do this directly in your car before you go away
2. Pushchair or Stroller
Two main things that will determine the pushchair or stroller you take on your trip will be a) the location of your travels b) the age of your baby. A city location will require something compact and easy to maneuver through small streets and busy crowds, whereas a more laid back beach sun holiday will most likely allow for your normal full-size pushchair. The age of your baby will determine if you can use a just a seat unit or if you'll need your carrycot, which is why I would opt for a system that you can use for all age groups. If you plan on traveling by car quite a bit, regardless of which system you take I would advise that if offers travel system functionality that allows you to dock your infant seat onto the chassis. I used the Bugaboo Bee for Budapest, it's not a cabin bag size fold however it ticks all of the above, for my full review see here. I can also recommend the Uppababy Minu, which is compact and comes with its own travel bag. Or the GB Pockit + which is officially the worlds smallest stroller and as with the Minu and Bee, it is also suitable from birth with the carrycot (purchased extra) and your infant seat can be docked with the adapters.
If you need a double and your child is old enough to use a buggy board, I'd highly recommend going down this route, purely for ease of transport, there is no super easy way to pack a double pushchair as they are simply not compact.
From an accessory side of things, if checking-in your pushchair a travel bag is essential to protect your frame from scratches. If going to a sun destination an SPF50+ sunshade of some sort is essential and just to be sure always bring your rain cover. If you're going on a winter or colder weather trip, a footmuff is an essential item to keep tiny toes cozy, this means you can get all your sightseeing in, without worrying that your baby is chilly.
For certain city locations, Rome comes to mind for me, you'd be best off opting for a carrier. Anywhere that has cobbles, steps, narrow and often bad quality footpaths will make for a nightmare pushchair experience. A good carrier with the right support and correct carrying position for your baby is a much better option, and younger babies love the motion and closeness so will very often just dose. I'd recommend the Baby Bjorn or Stokke carriers.
Accessories can be purchased here.
3. Feeding & Bathing
Some hotels will have baby rooms where you can prepare food and sterilise etc. If your baby is under 12 months according to the HSE it is recommended that you sterilize bottles and feeding equipment, where you have access to a microwave bring a microwave sterilizer or if not you could use the Milton Sterilising Tablets available in most chemists, just pop them and the bottles/feeding equipment into a large freezer bag with water and leave for 15mins.
Again this depends on the facilities available at your accommodation. If you have access to a food preparation area, bring your hand blender and make your own food pouches using the Doodle Bags reusable pouches both of which we have used when Lottie was younger, they are great for transporting our own food and keeping it fresh. I would always recommend packs of preprepared food pouches for emergency situations...you never want to encounter a screaming hungry baby onboard a delayed flight and not have food ready there and then! I normally use Pip & Pear or Babease as I feel the nutritional content of these ranges are well balanced, both brands are available at your local Supervalu. Don't forget your bowls, spoons and sippy cup for water, I used our Done by Deer ranges available in store. For cleaning your feeding equipment don't forget to pack a small bottle of washing liquid just in case you can't get to a shop straight away.
The Stokke Flexi Bath packs completely flat, so it's an ideal travel bath. Most hotels won't have a baby bath and if they do, they aren't often the cleanest! Your hooded baby towel will also double up as a post-swim baby towel, on a beach holiday. For safe sun baby swim, we have the cutest range of Liewood Swim Jumpsuits.
Babies are fickle little sleepers, well both of my girls were! So the biggest focus for me when traveling was trying to replicate their normal sleeping environment as much as possible. The last thing you want whilst on holidays is being up all night with an unsettled baby. Both of my girls used either a nest or pod. Lottie had terrible reflux so right from day 1 we used the Cocoona Baby for her up until around 6 months, it was ideal for travel as well, we packed it into a case and when we arrived she had her normal sleeping environment so didn't have a clue that she was in a hotel cot. Whilst in Budapest and now that she is older, we just packed her Cam Cam Copenhagen and Snuzpouch Sleeping bags, so she safely and cozily slept in her usual routine. We use an old iPhone as our portable white noise machine, I just downloaded an app and off she doses to the sound of the ocean, plus the bonus here is that it doesn't time out. If your baby also needs a dark room I'd recommend the Gro Anywhere Blind, its so handy to pack away and then just sticks to the window covering any light, available to purchase online.
Keeping little travelers entertained is an absolute must for travel, especially whilst on board the aircraft. Small and interactive toys are essential, we packed an activity book, wooden blocks because they all fit into one cube and a play mat because the toys can be removed and the gym can be packed completely flat.
Finally, for children over 2 years, the Stokke Ride-on Bedbox transforms a cramped economy seat into a comfy bed for older children. Amazing...we need an adult version!
(please note: Normal recommendations as per your health care provider should be followed, the views expressed here are as per my own experience, each child is individual)